How to Improve Your Timing in Bowling
Timing is one of the most critical areas in bowling that takes a lot of practice and effort. When bowling most people use a four or five step approach. They are moving from the starting position and ending up at the finish position. Now the trick to maintain timing is a pretty simple one yet it can take lots and lots of practice to achieve. The goal is to maintain a good natural arm swing while making those steps toward the foul line. Once at the foul line, the slide and release should be in synchronous with each other.
To achieve a good finish there has to be a good start. To do this in a four step approach requires this basic system. I will explain the best position of the bowler’s arm swing that is in time with their feet.
1st Step and Push away:
During the first step in a four step approach, you push the ball away while taking the first step. This is done simultaneously but at the same time should be effortlessly and not robotic. Obviously when you are learning bowling, things may be a little robotic however as you progress. For right handed bowlers, the first step begins with the right foot, for left-handed bowlers the first step begins with the left foot. The push away should be natural along with the step... Remember a good start helps for a good finish!
2nd Step and Drop:
Once you push the ball out on the first step which takes a little muscle power to do since you are holding the ball, you then want to drop the ball and begin the arm swing. As you are proceeding between step 1 and step 2 the ball should be swinging down toward your leg. As your heel touches for step 2 your ball should be vertically down and maybe even a little behind your leg (if you have a natural high back swing). Again, the arm swing should be totally relaxed.
3rd Step and Back Swing:
In between the 2nd and 3rd step, the ball is behind you and entering the top of the back swing. A you are entering the 3rd step with the heel, the ball should be at the height of the back swing and should be starting to make its way downward. As the ball is building momentum in the down swing your body should be preparing for the final step in a 4 step bowling approach.
4th Step and Slide:
The final step in a 4 step approach is the slide. As you begin the slide, your bowling hand should be passing the sliding leg (close but not touching the ankle). As you are sliding this is where the release plays out. The sliding leg helps is in sync with the release. This is where the most power in the release is generated. The sliding leg helps make the release an effective one has the motion of sliding and releasing is taking place. This whole process helps to create area by allowing the hand to give maximum turn on the bowling ball. If the timing is good it also help to compensate for any mistake in your lining up that you may have. It allows you to make on the spot correction and finish the shot properly!
One of the problems is called late timing. This happens when your feet are faster than your natural arm swing. Sometimes when you get anxious with the shot, it can cause you to rush the foul line with your feet even though your arm is still swinging. When this happens your final step which is the slide is already at the foul line while the arm swing is still at the top. When this happens more often than not, you will have a tendency to pull or muscle the ball through the swing. You already completed the slide however your arm swing is not complete. When you muscle the shot, you tend to pull the ball along with your shoulder and miss inside your target. This can most certainly cause an errant shot.
To correct late timing
even if you started fast with the feet is to train your feet to wait for the ball. Yes we like to walk by approaching the foul line evenly, however if your start off fast, at some point in the steps you may need to pause slightly and wait for the arm swing to be in the correct position before the final step, the slide. So by training yourself on step 2 or 3 to pause and walk based on your arm swing, you therefore get yourself back in time with the shot.
Another problem that may happen is something called early timing. Early timing can be caused by starting the arm swing before the 1st step takes place. The result of this is that the arm swing and release has taken place way before the slide has happened. This can cause an variety of issues like loosing the release and the control that the release has to offer on the ball. Your swing is already complete but you haven't finished the slide yet. It can cause the ball to lose a lot of potential power that a good release
has to offer.
To correct early timing
the first thing you need to do is doing the push-away correctly. Make sure you push the ball out, not down. By pushing the ball out, it has more of a distance to follow and thus should be in time with your feet. Also, make sure you are not pushing the ball out too soon. If you are doing that, then your feet need to play catch up. This can be done by speeding the feet up to compensate but when you do that and do that often, your feet will naturally become fast and that can cause the exact opposite which is late-timing. So just remember on step one out, relaxed and drop the ball, begin arm swing and you should be fine.
5 Step Approach:
In a five step approach, the first step is with the left foot however it isn't a full step. It is more like a getting started half-step just to get the momentum going. Then you simply perform the 4 step approach with the movement already started. That is how a 5 step approach works... think of it as a momentum step. Again a slow and controlled step is the best way to go. This is a 40 yard dash race to the foul line but to prepare the arm for a smooth and natural arm swing where both the final slide step and arm swing meet at the same time.
In conclusion, timing takes a lot of practice and the use of video taping, relay and analysis can be very, very helpful when working on your bowling game.